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Big Time Conference Speaker Me

Drove down to Vancouver today. I can hardly wait for Saturday and the all day NorthernVoice non-profit community blogging conference. The tongue in cheek title to this post illustrates exacly the opposite of what I hope to convey during the conference.

I consider myself extremely lucky to help facilitate two different discussions at the conference. I am going to be helping with the "Intro to Blogging" session and the "Types and Styles of Blogging" session.  I look at my participation as absolutely one as a helper and a learner. 

I can't be dishonest and say that I wouldn't want conference speaking to be, one day, a strong revenue stream for me. But, it is so important to remember that it is really the audience who are the VIPS and the stars. Everytime I forget this, a massive chunk gets metaphorically taken out off my ass. And well it should be.

I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the folks who gave birth to NorthernVoice. This is the right conference at the right time. May it have a long and illustrious history.

I plan to blog as much of this incredible experience as possible - live or shortly after.

Technorati tag: northernvoice

A Passion for the Kamloops Blogosphere...

Some interesting posts up on blogs written in our little valley:

Thoughts on Venture Kamloops Event on a Brand for Kamloops...

Last Thursday, I was invited to attend an afternoon workshop to give input on a new "brand" for Kamloops. Venture Kamloops , the City funded business attraction agency, put on the event. It was facilitated by a lady named Janey Cruise.

I have been to a couple of other workshops like this in the past and was very pleased to be able to engage in lots of productive discussion with other participants. Much of the Venture Kamloops workshop, however, took the form of a longish presentation from Janey Cruise on what makes a "brand". As she was talking, it seemed to me she lost a lot of people. Some folks at my table were, in fact, nodding off.  She did not seem to keen to take a lot of questions or comments during her presentation either. I feel it would have been better to involve the participants right from the beginning of the workshop.

When we finally got an opportunity to do some brainstorming on a "brand" for Kamloops, the ideas came quickly and were expressed enthusiastically - at least in my breakout group. We were mainly working on the image of Kamloops that Venture Kamloops would market to businesses who wish to locate here. And as Janey said, it ain't just lifestyle, because every other smallish community in the world is talking about lifestyle advantages. We had to go deeper and further in figuring out what makes Kamloops special. 

Despite Mayor Mel Rothenburger giving an enthusiastically positive report about Kamloops' current major brand as the "Tournament Capital of Canada", by far most participants in the workshop thought we were limiting ourselves. In fact, a lot of people actively disliked the Tournament Capital brand - one comment in fact calling it "a crock of shit".

I forcefully made the point that Venture Kamloops should consult with a much larger group than those in the workshop. And, if we were going beyond business attraction branding, and talking about overall branding of our community, an economic development agency is probably not best placed to lead the charge. We need to bring in more than just business for that. Social agencies, cultural groups, sports councils and in fact the whole range of community organizations need to be consulted as well.

Although I found the workshop lacking in certain ways, I absolutely appreciated the opportunity to attend and want to thank Michael Eibl and MJ Cousins from Venture Kamloops for inviting me.

Is it too Soon to Return to the Beaches of Thailand?


This is picture from an album on this web page that shows pictures of tourists on the western beaches of Thailand. All the photos feature backdrops of the still being cleaned up and enormous devastation. Photos like this instinctively turn me off. But, from many perspectives, it is good if people still holiday in Tsunami affected areas. The locals need the business and jobs, for one.

I guess its just a question of what is the appropriate waiting / mourning time. The album I linked above really makes you think about that.

Scoping the so called Competition

Yesterday,I had the great pleasure of listening to an Internet and Computer tips talk given by Cristal Bowser from Cristal Clear Solutions. Cristal might be considered competition as I also give Internet and Computer tips talks. She was initially a little nervous seeing me in the audience. Cristal is also a friend and I assured her I was there to learn from her and was not there to heckle or give critcal feedback.

When I am giving talks and training, I often wonder  how other trainers would frame the issues.  Cristal gave me another valuable perspective and, as I told her and I think she gave me permission over lunch, I will incorporate important tips she passed on into my own work.

Way to go Cristal!

We haven't even had our first date, and you already want to have sex...

Well, I must be very desirable - as a potential customer. In amongst the well done and interesting Kamloops Home Based Business Association trade show yesterday, I approached two booths and was almost immediately asked for business. One of the booth rats even told me that "I should be her client".

Not the way to get me to buy anything. Court me. Ask me about how my day is going. Tell me a joke. Give me a really useful tip sheet about your general industry. I have been spent too much time reading these blogs to think I am alone or even part of a small group.

Now, I am sure these people who treated me in this way yesterday are good people. Their sales strategies are not uncommon and I might do business with them one day. I haven't named them here. And I certainly intend to join the Kamloops Home Based Business Association.

The fact is, for me. a first meeting at trade show is not the time to try to "close" a sale. It is the time to start a relationship. At another booth at the show, someone recognized me, called me by name, and we had a pleasant chat. Much better and I left happily taking a brochure.